BEIJING, China — There is no better time to have a date than on "Singles Day" on November 11 (the duplication of number 11, while 1 symbolizes singledom), so Ford Motor China invited NGOs, experts and journalists on a special "Green Date" to discuss the future development of non-governmental environmental protection groups in China.
Under the theme of "Together, we make a difference!", Ford representatives, media, winners of the 2010 Ford China Conservation and Environmental Grants (CEGC), as well as environmental protection experts had a lively discussion about successful NGO activities, support for conservation from across Chinese society, and opportunities for NGOs in the future.
As a corporate citizen with a strong sense of social responsibility, Ford has provided undivided attention and support to grassroots green NGOs in China.
Ford has supported the efforts of 244 groups and individuals to protect the environment through the CEGC programme, with cash grants totaling RMB11 million (USD 1.71 million) since it was introduced in China in 2000.
CEGC has witnessed rapid growth in the non-governmental sector for environmental protection over the past decade.
“The operation and development of today’s NGOs have become much more rational and constructive, which is beneficial to conservation,” said Ruinong Li, vice president of China Environment News, who has been a judge for CEGC for ten years.
Despite past successes, the discussion did not shun challenging issues beleaguering these civil organizations. Many experts questioned the sustainability of grassroots NGOs since “passion” remains their main energy source for the cause, and called for a favourable interaction system based on cooperation between the non-governmental sector and communities, governments, funds, volunteers and media.
"As a good corporate citizen, Ford's CEGC programme has been a successful attempt in this regard," said Dr. Li Zhang, director of Conservation International's China Program, also a judge of CEGC. "The programme (CEGC) has not only been providing financial support to more than 320 civil organisations, but also professional training sessions in an effort to help them improve their capabilities for sustainable development."
"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he will never go hungry," said Claire Li, vice president of communications, Ford China, speaking of Ford's willingness to increase its investment in China's grassroots NGO capacity building.
"Building a better world through developing eco-friendly products and technologies has always been one of Ford's aspirations in its century-long history," she said, "Ford Motor Company sincerely hopes that with our own actions, the general public will start to show concern and support NGOs in environmental protection."
"Hope for China's environment and civil society grows when everyone in our society starts to show concern in conservation," she added.
|Winners of 2010 CEGC sharing their experiences with others.
||Dr. Zhang from Conservation International China giving a speech at the event.|